World leaders and governments have expressed shock and outrage at the storming of the US Capitol in Washington by supporters of President Donald Trump.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said yesterday that she was “furious and saddened” by the events, and said that Trump shared blame for the unrest.
“I deeply regret that President Trump has not conceded his defeat, since November and again yesterday,” she said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Twitter condemned the “disgraceful scenes in US Congress”.
“The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power,” he said.
The EU’s foreign policy chief condemned an “assault on US democracy”.
“In the eyes of the world, American democracy tonight appears under siege,” Josep Borrell tweeted.
He added: “This is not America. The election results of November 3 must be fully respected.”
French President Emmanuel Macron said that “we will not give in to the violence of a few who want to question” democracy.
In a video posted on his Twitter account, he added: “What happened today in Washington is not American.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the chaos unleashed on the Capitol “shows above all how fragile and vulnerable Western democracy is”.
“We saw that unfortunately the ground is fertile for populism, despite the advances in science and industry,” he said in a speech broadcast by state television. “I hope the whole world and the next occupants of the White House will learn from it.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: “Canadians are deeply disturbed and saddened by the attack on democracy in the United States, our closest ally and neighbour.”
“Shocking scenes in Washington, DC,” North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) chief Jens Stoltenberg tweeted. “The outcome of this democratic election must be respected.”
Irish premier Micheal Martin, who has invited the Irish-American (President-elect Joe) Biden to visit his ancestral homeland early in his presidency, tweeted his condemnation.
“The Irish people have a deep connection with the United States of America, built up over many generations. I know that many, like me, will be watching the scenes unfolding in Washington DC with great concern and dismay,” Martin said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Trump ally who has heaped praise on the outgoing US president in the past, said he was “distressed to see news about rioting and violence” in Washington.
“Orderly and peaceful transfer of power must continue. The democratic process cannot be allowed to be subverted through unlawful protests,” the Hindu nationalist leader tweeted.
In Turkey, which suffered an attempted coup in 2016, the foreign ministry called on “all parties in the US to maintain restraint and prudence. We believe the US will overcome this internal political crisis in a mature manner”.
In Slovenia – homeland of US First Lady Melania Trump – Prime Minister Janez Jansa tweeted: “All should be very troubled by the violence taking place in Washington, DC.”
The right-winger, who backed Trump and who has yet to congratulate Biden on his election victory, added: “We hope American democracy is resilient, deeply rooted and will overcome this crisis.
“Democracy presupposes peaceful protest, but violence and death threats – from left or right – are ALWAYS wrong.”
Yesterday Russia pointed to the storming of the US Capitol building as evidence of America’s decline, with officials saying that its out-of-date electoral system and deep divisions had left its democracy “limping on both feet”.
Under banners reading “Storm of the Capitol” and “Chaos in Washington”, Russian state television showed rolling images of Donald Trump supporters breaking down barricades and swarming the Congress building on Wednesday, as security forces fired tear gas and police drew guns inside.
Congress formally certified Joe Biden as the next president despite the unrest, but many in Moscow said the stunning events had exposed America’s democratic failings.
“The electoral system in the United States is archaic, it does not meet modern democratic standards ... and the American media have become an instrument of political struggle,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Facebook. “This is largely the reason for the split in society now observed in the United States.”
Moscow has long bristled at US criticism of the state of Russian democracy under President Vladimir Putin, accusing Washington of hypocrisy and condescension.
Often echoing the kind of language used against Russia, officials in Moscow said the United States was no longer in any position to lecture other countries on freedom and democracy.
“It is clear that American democracy is limping on both feet,” said Konstantin Kosachyov, the chair of the Russian upper house’s foreign affairs committee.
“The celebration of democracy has ended. It has, unfortunately, hit rock bottom, and I say this without a hint of gloating.
“America no longer charts the course and so has lost all right to set it. And, even more so, to impose it on others.”
The Kremlin has itself been accused of fostering US divisions with a campaign of interference and disinformation, including alleged attempts to disrupt the 2016 election in Trump’s favour that prompted an Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigation.
With Russia celebrating the Orthodox Christmas holiday there was no reaction to the events in Washington from the Kremlin.
But pro-Kremlin lawmakers jumped on the unrest.
“The United States certainly cannot now impose electoral standards on other countries and claim to be the world’s ‘beacon of democracy’,” the foreign affairs chief in the lower house, Leonid Slutsky, told Russian news agencies.
He said Washington was suffering from a “boomerang” effect after having promoted “colour revolutions” around the world, like anti-Moscow uprisings in Ukraine and Georgia and the recent protests in Belarus.

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